M2 MacBook Pro review round-up: no notable upgrades other than the addition of the M2 chip

The first batch of reviews of Apple’s new M2 MacBook Pro is out now. The 13-inch MacBook Pro retains the same old design, display, and speakers as its predecessor. Upgrades include the M2 chip, support for Spatial Audio, and a new 67W USB-C Power Adapter. This review round-up gives us an idea of what to expect from Apple’s brand-new M2 chip.

M2 MacBook Pro

Reviews for the M2 MacBook Pro are out!

TechCrunch’s Brian Heater says the new MacBook Pro offers good performance due to the next-generation Apple Silicon chip but that there are not a lot of reasons to recommend it over the new MacBook Air. Heather does say that the GPU gains with the M2 are impressive and it seems Apple’s vision of becoming a “more serious gaming powerhouse” is closer.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro has the new Air beat in a few departments, including battery life, microphones and the inclusion of a cooling system for resource-intensive tasks. On the whole, however, the Air is shaping up to be the clear head-to-head winner of these two systems. And that alone makes this system hard to recommend.

MacBook Pro

WIRED’s Brenda Stoylar says the M2 chip is the only upgrade on this “lackluster but perfectly fine laptop.” She says she found herself unexcited at the prospect of using a machine that only received a processor update and nothing else. She does say the new M2 MacBook Pro offers slightly better battery life than the new MacBook Air.

This 13-inch laptop, which once felt like a powerhouse despite its small size, now feels aimless. Apple didn’t give it the upgrades it introduced in last year’s high-end MacBook Pro models, such as a sleeker redesign, 1080p webcam, slimmer bezels around the display, and a MagSafe charger. Weirdly, many of these changes made it to the brand-new and cheaper MacBook Air, which is also powered by the same M2 processor inside the 13-inch MacBook Pro. What’s up with that?

It’s a perplexing addition to the MacBook lineup. Yes, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro works just fine. Its performance is great and battery life is reliable; the Butterfly keys that caused so many problems are long gone. It’s the only MacBook in the entire lineup that keeps the Touch Bar (er, if you like that). But for $1,299, I think it’s fair to expect more from Apple.

M2 chip - TSMC

The Verge’s Monica Chin says that Apple “has put a 2022 CPU in a 2016 computer” due to the outdated design and lack of new features. According to some single-core benchmarks Chin ran, the M2 slightly outperformed the pricier M1 Pro chip.

Tech journalists often complain that chip bumps are boring, and I think in many cases they’re being unfair. I’m writing this review right now on an Intel MacBook Pro that only lasts four hours on battery, has fans that can constantly be heard around the office, takes multiple minutes to boot, and slows down if I have over 12 tabs open. New chips redefine what people can do; they make better work possible, and they make more work possible.

The M2, though, is not quite doing that. It is an impressive chip, and it is faster than the M1. And it’s certainly helping the MacBook keep up as the Intels and AMDs of the world get better. But I’d be surprised if it will let anyone run a program or apply a filter or use a tool that they haven’t been able to before. The primary advantage it has over the M1 Pro (apart from its lower price and slight edge in single-core tasks) is battery life. And that’s a huge benefit but also something I want to avoid celebrating too much until I have a MacBook Air in my hands.

M2 chip

Most of the reviews that have come out about the M2 MacBook Pro focus heavily on the M2 chip since the device does not offer any major upgrades. With an outdated design, the same ports, and Touch Bar, most tech journalists are advising consumers to wait for the M2 MacBook Air to come out if they are in the market for a more significant upgrade.

YouTubers including Rene Ritchie, iJustine, and Max Tech also reviewed the new M2 MacBook Pro, check out their videos below:

About the Author

Asma is an editor at iThinkDifferent with a strong focus on social media, Apple news, streaming services, guides, mobile gaming, app reviews, and more. When not blogging, Asma loves to play with her cat, draw, and binge on Netflix shows.

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